S/Sgt. William E. Auten's Diary

Waist Gunner, 601st Squadron


    Mission Log Book of:

    William E. Auten
    398th Bomb. GP.,
    601st Bomb. SQD.,
    A.P.O. 557

    SQD. - Hell's Angels
    Crew - Our Baby

    398th C.O. - Lt. Col. Ensign
    60lst C.O. - Maj. Peterson
    Operations - Capt. Scofield


    Gen. Eisenhower, D. D. - C.G. - ETO
    Lt. Gen. Spaatz, Carl - C.G. - U.S.S.T.A.F.
    Lt. Gen Doolittle, J. H. - C.G. - 8th Air Div.
    Brig. Gen. Turner, H. M. - C.G. - 1st Air Div.
    Brig. Gen. Gross, W. M. - C.G. - 1st Combat Wing

    Station - 131
    Nuthampstead, England
    Cable Address; AMORB I LONDON

    P.O.E. - Camp Kilmer, New Brunswick, N. J. Boat from New York on morning of Jan. 30th, 1945. Troop Transport - The Old Manhattan, now the Wakefield. On the boat a total of nine days.

    Landed at Liverpool, England on Thursday Feb. 8th, 1945. Arrived at stone, England (Staffordshire) on morning of Feb. 9th. "Duncan Hall". This was replacement center. Arrived at the 398th Bomb. G.P. on Feb 20th.

    Feb. 21, 1945 - Ground School. (Mission by 398th)

    Feb. 22 - Ground School. Miss – German Jet plane attacked 398th getting one B-17. Was Me-262 Jet.

    Feb. 23 - Ground School. Miss

    Feb. 24 - Ground School, Gunnery. Picture Show on Post.

    Feb. 25 - Ground School - Stage Show by WAFS. Turkey for Supper.

    Feb. 26 - More Ground School today. Ice Cream for Supper.

    Feb. 27 - School, Nothing else. 601st to Leipzig.

    Feb. 28 - More School, one day to go. 601st Stand Down. Stage Show.

    March 1st - Finished School. Nemer & Officers flew practice night mission.

    March 2nd - Becker arrived with us last night. We all (except Becker) flew High-Altitude practice mission in morning. All ready for Combat. Should get "The Call" in the morning. We got our first mail from the states this day.

    March 3rd - Mission #1
    Today was the day. We got our first mission.
    Target: Chemnitz, Ger. - Marshalling Yards
    Flying Time: 9:55
    Bombs: Eighteen 250 lb. G.P.
    Bombing Altitude: 26,500 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 5 hrs.
    Flack: Lots but not close.
    Fighters: Some reported but none seen. Our target was 40 miles from the Russian lines. We weren't hit by flack but it looks rough.

    March 4th - Mission #2
    Target: Ulm, Germany - Spare Parts for Tanks
    Flying Time: 6:30 - We had to feather No 3 Engine near Strasburg and had to leave the formation. We dropped our bombs at Saverne. We were losing altitude. After dropping bombs we headed for home alone.
    Bombs: Eight 500 lb. G.P.'s and two 500 lb. I.P.'s
    Bombing Altitude: About 18,000
    Oxygen Time: 3 hours
    Last night there were German planes over England and a JU-88 reported over our base.

    March 5, 1945 - Mission #3
    Target: Primary - Rutland, Ger., Secondary - Chemnitz, Ger.
    We hit Chemnitz, Ger. by P.F.F. Machine Shops.
    Flying Time: 9:05
    Bombs: Eighteen 500 lb. GP's
    Bombing Altitude: 26,400 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 6 hrs. 30 min.
    Flack: Moderate
    Fighters: None
    We didn't fly with 398th but with "U" Group [this was the 457th BG, Triangle "U"]. Had a bad engine and had lots of trouble keeping up. Left formation over France on way back, arrived all O.K.

    March 6th
    Group stand down today. Probably will fly tomorrow. Nemer and the crew flew practice mission today. We slept this morning and had a little school this afternoon.

    March 7th - Mission #4
    Target: Secondary - Siegen, Ger. – Rail Yards.
    Flying Time: 8:45
    Bombs: Sixteen 500 lb. G.P.'s
    Bombing Altitude: 23,500 Ft.
    Oxygen Time: 5 1/2 hrs.
    Flack: Meager
    Fighters: None
    Good mission. Should have been much shorter. Made six bomb runs before bombs away. Not much flack and not to close to us. We saw a V-2 vapor trail today and a "Flak Marker" or smoke bomb. Flew in 746 today which was it's first combat mission.

    March 8th.
    Stand down. Had a little school this morning and just rest in the afternoon. Went to a show tonight.

    March 9th (Friday) - Mission #5
    Target: Kassel, Ger. - Rail transportation & oil refinery.
    Flying Time: 7:30
    Bombs: Eighteen 100 lb. G.P.'s and four 500 lb. I.B.'s
    Bombing Altitude: 27,000 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 5 hrs.
    Flack: Intense and accurate.
    Fighters: None seen.
    Our roughest mission so far. It was short but there was lots of flack and right at us. Got six large hits. Nemer found a piece of flack in the radio room. The target was visual today. Six groups hit it before us. Saw the bomb strikes of GP. ahead of us. We left the target covered in smoke and fire. Today’s mission makes five we have gotten in a week.

    March 10th (Saturday) - Mission #6
    Target: Primary - Dortmond, Ger - Heavy Industries.
    Flying Time: 6:45
    Bombs: Thirty four 100 lb. G.P.'s and two 500 lb. I.B.'s
    Bombing Altitude: 25,000 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 4 hrs.
    Flack: Moderate and accurate.
    Fighters: None
    Good mission. Completes our first air medal. Had three holes in ship. Had a 48 hr. pass beginning Sat. Night.

    March 11th (Sunday)
    Went to London with Hernden on 48 [48 hour pass]. Saw the sights and heard Buzz Bombs at night.

    March 12th (Monday)
    Returned from London. Supposed to fly tomorrow.

    March 13th (Tuesday)
    Group stand down. P ractice mission in the afternoon. Nemer, Gulledge and I went to 91st Bomb. G.P. (Bassingbourn) to see Brown, Corbin, Fitzpatrick and the boys. Met Frank D. Edmunson there. Got a mission tomorrow.

    March 14th (Wed.) - Mission #7
    Target: Vlotho, Ger., S.W. of Hanover - Bridge
    Flying Time: 8:05
    Bombs: Six 1000 lb. G.P.'s
    Bombing Altitude: 23,400 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 4 hrs.
    Flak: Moderate and inaccurate. For our Sqd. Lead was hit pretty hard. 398th (603rd) lost one ship and crew, 2 other men injured.
    Fighters: None
    This was a visual target but hazy. We could see our bombs hitting buildings. The group broke up into SQD. on the target. Was a rough mission for some but Flak wasn't close to us. GP. behind us had lots of Flak. Got Bomb strikes.

    March 15th
    "Skeleton Crew" flew practice mission both morning and night. I had a class in morning.

    March 16th (Friday)
    398th was "Scrubbed" today. Had one class and that's all. Going to show tonight.

    March 17th (Sat.)
    398th hit Barna, Ger., S.W. of Leipzig. My crew stood down again today. Had some rest. Scheduled to fly tomorrow.

    March 18th (Sun.)- Mission #8 – Big “B”
    Target: Berlin, Ger. – Rail Yards in Central Part of Berlin, Schlesicher Rail Yards.
    Flying Time: 9:15
    Bombs: Eight 500 lb. I.B.'s and twelve 100 lb. G.B.'s
    Bombing Altitude: 25,200 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 6 hrs.
    Flak: Intense and accurate.
    Fighters: None
    Target was visual. 4 to 5/10 clouds. Plenty of Flak. We got 3 holes and a hole in No. 3 Prop. Rough Mission. I hope my last trip to "Big B". Used 8 man crew today. Flew in Old 190, oldest ship of 398th. Temp. 42. There are 402 Flak - guns in Berlin area. I think they all fired at us. The 8th's 17th attack on Berlin and largest. The 8th lost 25 bombers and 5 fighters on this one.

    March 19, (Monday)
    Stand down. 2 classes, morning and afternoon. Quiet Day.

    March 20 (Tuesday)
    Stand down. A class in the morning and afternoon. Marshall and I made S/Sgt. as of March 15th.

    March 21 (Wednesday) - Mission #9
    Target: Rheine, Ger. - Airport in N.W. Ger.
    Flying Time: 6:30
    Bombs: Thirty eight 100 lb. G.P.'s.
    Bombing Altitude: 22,000 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 4 1/2 hrs.
    Flak: Meager and inaccurate.
    Fighters: None seen by us in the air but some seen on airports below.
    Easy Mission. We really "plastered" the airport. Was a visual target. Other targets in the area had quite a bit of Flak. Have Bomb Strikes. Weather was beautiful - Spring.

    March 22 (Thurs)
    Stand down. School all day. 398th flew to N.W. Ger. Had intense Flak. No ships lost.

    March 23 (Friday) - Mission #10
    Target: Coesfeld, Ger., in the Munster area- N.W. Ger. Rail Yards & Town.
    Flying Time: 6:15
    Bombs: Twelve 500 lb. G.P.'s.
    Bombing Altitude: 25,000 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 4 hrs. 45 min.
    Flak: None
    Fine mission. Give me 25 more like this. We sure "plastered" the town. Target was visual. We flew over The lines and saw the 60 mi. smokescreen put up by Gen. "Monty" [General Montgomery]. Also saw a V-Bomb trail.

    March 24 (Sat)
    Stand down our Crew. 398th flew two missions today into N.W. Ger. Patton and Allies making big gains on Western Front.
    Dicks flew navigator on another crew today. 601st Sqd. Had Sqd. party tonight. Buzz bombs hit near here last night.

    March 25 (Sunday)
    Our first "Scrub” mission. We got up at 0145 and we were In the air at 0530. Back on the ground at 0730. We were to hit an oil refinery S.E. of Lipzieg about 20 min. Got to sleep some during the day. Saw a show tonight. Supposed to fly tomorrow. Today’s flying time - 2 hours.

    March 26 (Monday)
    Stand down again. Had some school this afternoon. Mailed my air medal home. Supposed to get a 48 hr. pass tomorrow. Not much combat flying going on, guess they are waiting for Patton to get settled. We aren't scheduled to fly tomorrow.

    March 27 (Tuesday)
    Ground School all day. Pass starts at 6 tonight. Arrived In London about 7 p.m. Got a place to stay and some food, a big steak with french fries.

    March 28 (Wed)
    Had some pictures made in London. Got some work done on uniform. Took in some shows, went to Stage Door Canteen.

    March 29 (Thursday)
    Visited important places in London: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Bridge, Scotland Yard, Thames River, No. 10 Downing St. and other places. Saw King and Queen of England, Winston Churchill's home. Saw some more shows and arrived back at base at 7 p.m.

    March 30 (Friday)
    Stand down. Some school in the afternoon. Movie at night.

    March 31 (Sat.)- Mission #11
    Target: Primary - Mersburg.
    No. 3 - Halle, Ger.- Marshalling Yards. We hit No. 3.
    Flying Time: 9:00
    Bombs: Twelve 500 lb G.P.'s
    Bombing Altitude: 26,000 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 5 hrs.
    Flak: Moderate and inaccurate.
    Fighters: None
    We were to hit Mersburg if visual. Glad we didn't go there. Supposed to hit the oil refinery there. We hit Halle through clouds. I never saw so many planes in the target area. P-51's were strong. Quite a bit of Flak but not too close.

    April 1st (Sunday) EASTER SUNDAY
    April Fools Day.
    Stand down GP. I did nothing at all today. Have nothing scheduled for tomorrow. Went to a show tonight.

    April 2nd (Monday) - Scrub # 2
    Target: Denmark
    Flying Time: 7:30
    Bombs: Thirty eight 150 lb. G.P.'s
    Bombing Altitude: 12,000 ft.
    Oxygen Time: None
    Flak: None
    Fighters: None
    Flew all the way to Denmark and didn't drop our bombs. Five minutes away from target we turned around and came back. I don't know the reason.

    April 3rd (Tuesday) - Scrub # 3 and # 4
    Got up at 2 a.m. and briefed for Kiel, Ger. At 6 a.m. Mission was "scrubbed". At 11 a.m. we were briefed for yesterday’s target in Denmark. By 1300 this too was scrubbed. What a day!!!?!! Don't think we will ever get [mission] No. 12 in. Targets in Germany are hard to find now. Have to be visual.

    1st Air Medal Cluster

    April 4th (Wed) - Mission #12
    Target: Hamburg area, Rheineland Airport and Dummer Lake Area
    Flying Time: 9:10
    Bombs: Thirty eight 150 Lb. G.P.'s
    Bombing Altitude: 12,000 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 5 hrs.
    Flak: Moderate and inaccurate on our SQD.
    Fighters: Ger. Jets in the air, none attacking us.
    No Bombs dropped, target had to be visual. We circled around trying to find visual target, some airfield. Ger. Jets were in the air but I didn't see any. Group ahead of us was hit.

    April 5 (Thurs)
    Had 2 classes today. 601st went to S.E. Ger. today but brought back the bombs again. Went to a USO Stage Show tonight.

    April 6 (Friday)
    398th Stand down. Big practice mission of new formation [this was the "Double V" formation. See "Squadrons Flew In "Double V" by John Bornstedt, 601st Pilot.]. Went to Royston for show and fish & chips.

    April 7 (Sat) - Mission #13 (12-B)
    Target: Kohlenbissen, Ger. - Airfield So. of Munster
    Flying Time: 8:30
    Bombs: Thirty eight 150 lb. G.P.'s
    Bombing Altitude: 16,000 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 4 hrs.
    Flak: Meager & inaccurate
    Fighters: Bandits reported but none seen by us.
    Got up at 1 a.m. for 6 a.m. take-off but were delayed until 10:20 take-off. Finished cleaning guns at 7:30 p.m. We hit the airfield which looked like a big field. Had railroad tracks on one side. A few planes seen on ground. Target was visual. Saw another bombed airfield, saw hangers and 2 planes. Towns in this area have been bombed to the ground. I have bomb strikes.

    April 8th (Sunday)
    Ground school all day. Went to Royston last night to show and Red Cross. 398th to Halle. 2 ships lost. One flew back with tail shot off.

    April 9th (Monday)
    Morning ground school. 398th to Munich.

    April 10th (Tues) - Mission #14 (12-C)
    Target: Oranienburg, Ger., 20 mi. n. of Berlin – Ordnance Works and Barracks, S.S. Troops
    Flying Time: 8:30
    Bombs: Six 500 lb. I.B.'s and six 500 lb. G.P.'s
    Bombing Altitude: 26,000 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 4 hrs.
    Flak: Meager & inaccurate
    Fighters: Four ME 262's (Jets) attacked us from 6 o'clock high.
    Don't know how many "Jets" altogether but several more. Gulledge fired about 50 rounds at them and Becker also fired from top turret. Some of the gunners claim hits on the Jets. One B-17 was hit in the tail by the Jets. Knocked off most of the vertical stabilizer and made a big hole in trailing edge of left wing. Other ships got hit. These Jets have 20 M.M. and 30 M.M. in wings. No B-17's in our group lost. Gulledge saw one Jet go down in flame. While looking at a formation behind us being hit by Flak, Marshall and I saw a bomber blow up and fire fall to the ground. Outside of the fighters it was a good mission. Hit the target good. Was visual all the way over Ger. Saw more bombed country. We flew by Hanover which is being taken now. Lots of bridges down. Saw some pontoon bridges.

    April 11th (Wed.)- Mission #15
    Target: Kraiburg, Ger., 10 mi. N.E. of Munich – Ammunition Works.
    Flying Time: 9:00
    Bombs: Ten 500 lb. G.P.'s
    Bombing Altitude: 27,000 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 4 hrs.
    Flak: None
    Fighters: None
    A very nice mission. No Flak at us and no fighters seen by us. All of our flight over Ger. was visual. We flew in and out across France, very pretty country. Flew south and east of Munich on the Isan River. We were on the edge of the Switzerland and Austrian Alps. A very beautiful sight with the snow tops. Also flew over the Danube river.

    April 12th (Thurs) - Scrub # 5
    Was to fly mission No. 16 today but after getting up at 0245, eating, briefing, putting guns in, being delayed, then the mission was "Scrubbed". Looked like it would be a good mission.

    April 13th (Friday) - Mission #16
    Target: Neumunster, between Kiel and Hamburg -Marshalling Yards.
    Flying Time: 5:00
    Bombs: Ten 500 lb. G.P.'s RDX
    Bombing Altitude: 20,000 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 1 hr.
    Flak: None
    Fighters: None
    We hit the target OK and had made a turn away when it happened. We were flying lead SQD in #3 position. I was trying to see the target from the right waist window when the #2 ship dropped some more bombs. Must have had a malfunction. I watched his bombs going down and when they were about 400 ft. below us they exploded. We were hit hard. Glulledge got hit in the back and arm and Norris (Spot Jammer) was hit in arm and leg. Formation broke up and we Set a course for Brussels for hospital. When about 10,000 ft our left wing caught on fire and we had to get down fast. We crash landed in a hurry and got away from the ship. Norris was in very bad shape. Gulledge doing OK. No one else hurt on landing. Hernden made a wonderful crash landing (wheels up). A U.S. jeep with 2 U.S. soldiers saw us coming in on fire and rushed to us. Hernden took Norris and Gulledge to hospital. We had landed just on our lines. We were between Braunschweig and Peine, S.E. of Hanover, near the Autobahn. The plane burned completely including all our equipment. We were taken by jeep to Lehrte through Peine to 9th Army Headquarters, Gen. Simpson - Com. Lehrte is just S.E. of Hannover. We stayed here Friday Night in a big German apartment house, took anything we wanted, lots of souvenirs. We had picked up 2 Germany infantry men at the crash. Gave them to P.W. camp. I have one of their hats. We drank Ger. beer, wine and whiskey. Everything free. What a Day. We were thankful to be alive, was an awful close one.

    April 14th (Sat) – Germany
    After a good night’s sleep in Lehrte, Ger. and good breakfast we were ready to travel. A Capt. Morris Learner was to take us in a weapons carrier. We had lots of souvenirs including a new Ger. bike of Hiler's. There were six from my crew, Culver, Campdon, Becker, Nemer, Hiler and myself. First we drove to Hannover. That place was a wreck. We took a German 4 cylinder car, convertible, and the six of us got in it. What a time we did have. We had about 200 mi. to travel to 29th Fighter Control Hdqtrs. We went by way of Linden, Lippe, Buckeburg, Minden, Herford, Bielefeld, Rheda, Klarholz, Warendon, Munster, Appelhusen, Dulmen and to Haltern. Haltern is between Munster and Wesel. Munster looked even worse than Hannover. Sat. night went boating on the lake and drank Ger. beer. It was wonderful.

    April 15 (Sunday) - Germany and Belgium
    We left Haltern and our Ger. car and traveled to a Ger. airfield near Munster now held by us. Got a C-47 there and flew at 300 ft. out of Ger. Saw the trenches and the bridgeheads over the Rhine. Saw the gliders and lots of wrecked Ger. planes. We were to land at Liege. Took a truck to Brussels to 8th A.F. Evacuation Hdqtrs. Went to town on pass all night. Got some more souvenirs.

    April 16 (Monday) - Belgium and England
    Met Capt. Marchbank's and crew next morning at Hdqtrs. Six ships had gone down out of our Sqd [on April 13th]. Our Nav. F/0 Dicks was with Palant's crew. Had bailed out. We went to airfield near Brussels and got one B-17. 25 men rode in it to a base nearer coast of Belgium. Here we got 2 B-17's and flew back to our home field in England. Made fast time in getting back. We were the first of six crews to get back. All our clothes had been taken up. They thought we were gone for good. Gulledge and Hernden not back yet.

    April 17 (Tuesday)
    Got our barracks fixed up again and got a 48 hr. pass. Becker and I went to Cambridge and then to Ridgewell (381st B.G.) to see "Russ" Mosley & "Bill". Were on Flak leave. We stayed at 381st Tuesday night.

    April 18 (Wed)
    Left Ridgewell and went to London. Just fooled around in London. Met Culver that night. Said Hernden was there. Met McKenzie and Hester in London. Stayed at Hans Cresent Club. Saw Noel Coward's stage production, "Private Lives".

    April 19 (Thurs)
    Another day in London. Doing nothing much. Culver, Becker and I saw a show. Met Hernden at the train station. Gulledge is in hospital in England. Should be here in a few days. Norris had to have an arm taken off. Arrived back at base.

    April 20th (Friday)
    Group stand down. Practice morning mission by Nemer & Becker. Went to 91st B.G. to see Brown & crew. Corbin was killed on April 8th, 1945. Forbes & crew killed April 15th.

    April 21st (Sat)
    398th flew to Munich. We did nothing. Got new flying equipment issued. We haven’t heard from Dicks yet, looks bad for him.

    April 22nd (Sun)
    Went to church in morning. G.P. Stand down. Nothing much to do. Show at night. No word from Dicks.

    April 23 (Monday)
    Group Stand down. Gullage not back and no word from Dicks.

    April 24 (Tuesday)
    Group Stand down. Had 1 hr. ground school. Movie at night.

    April 25 (Wednesday) - Mission #17
    Target: Pilsen, Czechoslovakia - Krupp Ordnance Works and Jet Airfield.
    Flying Time: 10:20
    Bombs: Twenty 250 lb. G.P.'s
    Bombing Altitude: 22,000 ft.
    Oxygen Time: 2 1/2 hrs.
    Flak: Intense but inaccurate.
    We made two runs on the target. It had to be visual and there was about 5/10 cloud coverage. We got intense Flak on our first run but no damage to us (Sqd.). On second run there was no Flak near us. We dropped bombs into the target area which was already one big cloud of smoke. The 398th lost 2 ships on second run, not from our Sqd. Supposed to fly tomorrow.

    April 26 (Thursday)
    G.P. Stand down. No nothing today. Show at night.

    April 27 (Friday)
    G.P. Stand down. Nothing today. Americans & Russians have linked up in Ger. We have Sqd meeting tonight. Looks like we will remain over here for awhile after V-E day. Lots of training has been planned when we are non-operational. We will be old garrison soldiers. Then Capt. Robertson is our new Sqd. C.O.

    April 28 (Sat)
    G.P. Stand down. Nothing today again. Sleep till 11 a.m. To Royston at night to show.

    April 29 (Sunday)
    G.P. Stand down. Went to morning church. Cleaned Guns at armament. Reported German surrender of 28th was FAKE. Looks like the 8th A.F. has finished in E.T.O.

    April 30 (Mon.) Payday
    G.P. Stand down. Nothing today. Was paid 19 lbs 13 Shillings 7 pence ($79.50). Paid Becker 5 lbs. We now have 138 hrs. and 5 min. combat time in our 17 missions.

    May 1st (Tuesday)
    Flew practice mission for 3 1/2 hrs. in the afternoon (sightseeing). Processed tonight. Rumor has it that we are going back to the States, soon I hope.

    May 2nd (Wed)
    Practice mission - 2 hrs. 50 min. in afternoon. Gulledge returned from hospital this afternoon. Seems to be OK now.

    May 3rd (Thurs.)
    Nothing today. Got some rain today.

    May 4th (Friday)
    Detail in morning. 48 hr pass beginning at 1800. Made it to London about 1900. Ate at Issols. Stayed at Hans Crescent.

    May 5th (Sat.)
    Raining in London. War almost over and everyone seems happy. Saw "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". Saw the review at the "Windmill".

    May 6th (Sunday)
    Met Culver in afternoon. Saw "Flight from Folly", an English film. Had a Chinese meal. Got back to Royston at 2300, to field at midnight. The Anniversary Party was just breaking up. Brown and Fitzpatrick had been over.

    May 7th (Mon.)
    Detail & School today. V-E Day is almost here, think it will be tomorrow.

    May 8th (Tues) - V-E Day
    England is officially celebrating V-E Day May 8th. Churchill, Truman made speeches today. Went to softball game today. We are restricted to Post. Lots of fireworks tonight & last night. Flares and 45's shot here. Cal. 50 being shot now and Big Guns shot up around London. Went to a show tonight (Laura).

    May 9th (Wed.)
    2nd Day of V-E Day. No work today. Saw 2 softball games and 1 baseball. I seem to be awful "homesick” the last few days.

    May 10th (Thurs.)
    Nothing today. Went to 91st B.G. with Gulledge to see Brown & Fitz.

    May 11th (Friday)
    Little detail today. Nemer and Becker flew some ground crews over Germany to see some of the damage.

    May 12th (Sat.)
    Nothing today. Went to the show tonight. May fly tomorrow.

    May 13th (Sunday)
    Nothing today. Marshall and Becker flew to Germany to pick up some P.W.'s. Show tonight.

    May 14th (Monday)
    No nothing today.

    May 15th (Tuesday)
    Nothing today. Found out officially that we are going home. Will be gone by the l0th of June. Show - Arsenic and Old Lace.

    May 16th (Wed.)
    Ground school all day. We may fly home. 6 crews leave Sat. Dicks is safe. Has been in P.W. camp but released.

    May 17th (Thurs.)
    Worked all day on Motor Pool. We are scheduled to go home May 26th. (To fly B-17)

    May 18th (Friday)
    Nothing today. Five crews to leave base tomorrow. Flying home. Taking 20 men in ship.

    May 19th (Sat)
    Nothing again. Will be leaving here soon. To show tonight. Got 2 shots.

    May 20th (Sun.)
    Nothing today. Lots of rain. Got another shot.

    May 21st (Mon)
    5 ships left for states from our Sqd. with 20 men on each ship. No mail or work today. Show tonight.

    May 22nd (Tues.)
    As of now I have 228 hrs. 35 min in B-17 time. Drew equipment from Personal Eq. Cleared the field, ready to go home.

    May 23rd (Wed.) through May 29th (Tues.)
    Waiting to go home. Have been doing absolutely nothing. Have guarded the ship some.

    May 30th (Wed.) through June 1st (Fri.)
    Doing nothing. Supposed to leave here tomorrow for sure. Am wanting to get started. No more mail from the States.

    June 2nd (Sat.)
    Leave Nuthampstead at 1300 - arrive Valley, Wales - 1430. Checked in and got bed. Should leave tomorrow.

    June 3rd (Sun.)
    Awake at 0430. Breakfast at 0600. Had briefing but take-off delayed until afternoon. No take-off today.

    June 4th (Mon.)
    Leave Valley, Wales. Briefing - 0800 Take-off - 1130. Land in Camp Meeks (A.T.C.) Iceland at 1730. Flying time- 6 hrs. Move clock backwards 2 hours. Really landed at 1530. This place is just rocks and ground. Not a tree on the place or any grass. Ate supper. Got 5 hrs. sleep. Up at 2300 to take pff at 0200 for Greenland. It Never got Dark All Night.

    June 5th (Tues.)
    Take-off from Camp Meeks, Iceland to TOBW-1, Greenland at 0245. Landed at 0730. Flying time - 4 hrs. 45 min. Sun came back up about 0300 this morning. I never saw so much snow and ice as today. Icebergs in ocean. This airport is located right in the mountains, only one runway. Supposed to take-off again tonight. Take-off from Bluie-West-One, Greenland at 11.45. Landed at Goose Bay, Labrador - 1510. Flying time - 4 hrs. 25 min. This place does have trees and a nice camp. Becker, Gulledge and I slept in the ship at night. Will make final hop to Bradley Field, Conn. tomorrow.

    Back in the U.S.A. June 6th (Wed.)
    Breakfast at 0830 (G.M.T.). Briefing at 1000. Destination Bradley Field, Conn. Take-off 1520 from Goose Bay. Landed at 2040 at Grenier Field, N.H. Flying time - 5 hrs. Weather was bad and Bradley Field filled. Go to Bradley tomorrow. Have moved clock back four hours. Back in U.S.A. after Four months 6 days.

    June 7th (Thurs.)
    Take-off from Grenier Field at 1255 and landed at 1335 at Bradley Field, Conn. Flying time - 40 min. Total flying time from Nuthampstead to Bradley Field - 22 hrs. and 20 min. Have been processed here and go to Miles-Standish Field (Boston, Mass.) tomorrow to get more processing. I go to camp Chaffee near Ft. Smith [Arkansas] from Standish and get Furlough from there.

    June 8th (Friday)
    Leave Bradley Field for Camp Myles Standish, Mass. Arrive noon after 4 hrs train ride. Go to Camp Chaffee from here. Saw a movie "Knob Hill".

    June 9th (Sat.)
    Spent the day in Camp Myles Standish, Mass. Saw movie and ate hot dogs and drank cokes. Good to be back to U.S. P.X.'s. Bought several gifts.

    June 10th (Sun.)
    Left Myles Standish at 1000. Went to New York. Passed through Buffalo at midnight. Have a chair car.

    June 11th (Mon.)
    Passed through Ohio and Indiana to Chicago. Got to Chicago 1830 Monday. Had 2 hour delay and got Pullman's. We are scheduled to reach Camp Chaffee at 0340 June 13th. Sure is nice to be going home. I hope to be there by the 14th.

    June 12th (Tues.)
    Got to Kansas City at 4 p.m. Had 3 hr. layover.

    June 13th (Wed.)
    Arrived Camp Chaffee 0630.

    Barracks in 601st Bomb Sqd. = No 85

    1. Hunt's Hun Hunters
    2. Hell's Bells
    3. Capt. Housman (Lead)
    4. Lt. Ryan (Flew No Combat)
    5. "Our Baby" (Hernden)

    CREW = (Original 9081) = (Dyersburg) [Dyersburg Army Air Base, Tennessee]

    Pilot - Lt. Raymond A. Hernden, 8542 Kentucky, Detroit, 4, Mich. DA8552
    Co-Pilot- L. O. Culver 0-929709, R.R. #2, Flushing, Mich., Ph. 7-2368 (Flint)
    Navigator -Mason L. Dicks T-134888, Nashwauk, Minn. Ph. 1-3-4.
    Bombardier- Alfred E. Campdon, Johnstown, Pa., R.D. 5, Box 322, Ph F53-127.
    Engineer - John J. Becker 32931242, 1315 Goodrlich Ave., Olean, N.Y.
    Radio Operator - M. E. Nemer 16136858, 6807 Sheridan Road, Chicago, Ill.
    Armorer G. [Waist Gunner] – W. E. Auten. 17039044, 231 E. Davis, Blytheville, Ark. Ph. 3160.
    Ball Turret - Eugene C. Hiler 36884107, Box 546, Clawson, Mich. Ph. Ro-8123-W.
    Tail Gunner- Thomas B. Gulledqe 18135393, 149 Main St., Crossett, Ark. Ph. 294.

    Engineer for First 5 Combat Missions - J. A. Johnson, 1 Mission - Tracy,
    Mission # 7 - Togglier - Hill
    Co-Pilot First Mission - Lt. Coe.
    Bombardier - Lt. Bonner, Mission # 9, 10
    Spot Jammer - E. J. Norris, Mission # 16
    Tailgunner, Mission 17 Koffman
    Navigator (For our flight home) 1st Lt. Klippart of Idaho.

    E.T.O. Missions
    1.    March 3rd      9 hrs. 55 min. 	Chemnitz, Ger.
    2.    March 4th      9 hrs. 05 min. 	Chemnitz
    3.    March 5th      8 hrs. 45 min. 	Seigen
    4.    March 7th      6 hrs. 30 min. 	Ulrn
    5.    March 9th      7 hrs. 30 min. 	Kassel
    6.    March 10th     6 hrs. 45 min. 	Dortmund
    7.    March 14th     8 hrs. 05 min. 	Vlotho
    8.    March 18th     9 hrs. 15 min. 	Berlin
    9.    March 20th     6 hrs. 30 min. 	Rheine
    10.   March 23rd     6 hrs. 15 min. 	Coesfield
    11.   March 31st     9 hrs. 00 min. 	Merseberg
    12.   April 4th      9 hrs. 10 min. 	Hamburg
    13    April 7th      8 hrs. 30 min. 	Kohlenbissen
    14.   April 10th     8 hrs. 30 min. 	Berlin
    15.   April 11th     9 hrs. 00 min. 	Munich
    16.   April 13th     5 hrs. logged 	Neumunster, Ger.
    17.   April 25th     10 hrs. 20 min.    Pilzen, Czech.
    Total Flying Time = 138:05

This diary was donated to the 398th BGMA by Lowell O. Culver. Lowell was Co-Pilot for the Hernden crew.

See also

  1. Mission diagram drawn in William E. Auten's diary
  2. "Ed Norris Was Not Forgotten By His Crew" by Allen Ostrom



  1. S/Sgt. Wiliam E. Auten was the Waist Gunner for the Raymond A. Hernden 601st crew.
  2. The above electronic diary transcription was provided by Janice Monk of Spokane, Washington, one of our volunteer transcribers.
  3. This transcription is a reproduction of the original. Spelling and punctuation changes have been made to improve readability. In some circumstances, material may not have been transcribed or was rewritten.
  4. Clarification of acronyms or special words or guesses of certain words are shown in brackets [ ].